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Comment: Re:Salespeople making salespitch (Score 1) 386

by kuzb (#49741335) Attached to: Microsoft To Teachers: Using Pens and Paper Not Fair To Students

Yes, it absolutely does need to be asked, because there's a strong bias here against Microsoft in general. As for your "technology is the downfall of the next generation" speech, that's just fucking ridiculous. I'm sure your grandfather felt the same way watching you plugged in to your massive walkman that got about three hours of battery life on 4 AAs. There's significant irony in it all because, well, you're here instead of being off somewhere in the wilderness shunning all the technology and science that made your life so much better than the lives of the generation that came before you.

As someone in his early 40s, I say bring on the tech. I absolutely want to see how far it goes before I shuffle off this mortal coil. Fuck the luddites like you that can't see the writing on the wall.

Comment: Re: Do most of the work? (Score 1) 438

by marko123 (#49732791) Attached to: Choosing the Right IDE

What is with the modern obsession with renaming things? Does your boss measure your performance by the number of lines needlessly changed in the code or something? Before refactoring support was the must have feature of IDEs, we had stable APIs to program to. Now some kid that grew up with his attention span crippled by the internet and smartphones wants to change the names of everything every five minutes.

If you want to keep a changing source code base as easily understandable as possible over time without confusing future programmers who have to work with it, you will need to refactor and rename as you go.

As requirements and thus code changes, the names of your functions, classes and files will become less correct, and lead future maintainers on a wild goose chase.

Keeping names appropriate by changing them is protection against future confusion and wasting of time.

It's actually a long-term solution to a long-standing problem and has little to do with crippled attention spans. It requires concentration to keep the names of things accurately matching their content. This investment of concentration will pay dividends on non-throwaway code.

Comment: Re:Salespeople making salespitch (Score 1) 386

by kuzb (#49727907) Attached to: Microsoft To Teachers: Using Pens and Paper Not Fair To Students

You need to ask yourself: would your opinion change if the suggested technology was all based on linux and open source software?

Do you disagree with it on the premise that you disagree with the fundamentals of it, or do you disagree with it because it's someone from Microsoft making the assertion?


Genetically Engineered Yeast Makes It Possible To Brew Morphine 333

Posted by samzenpus
from the let-it-rise dept.
PvtVoid writes: The New York times reports that newly developed yeast strains will soon make it possible to create morphine from fermentation of sugar. While no one has claimed to make morphine in lab from scratch yet, concerns are already being raised about potential abuse. According to the Times article: "This rapid progress in synthetic biology has set off a debate about how — and whether — to regulate it. Dr. Oye and other experts said this week in a commentary in Nature Chemical Biology that drug-regulatory authorities are ill prepared to control a process that will benefit the heroin trade much more than the prescription painkiller industry. The world should take steps to head that off, they argue, by locking up the bioengineered yeast strains and restricting access to the DNA that would let drug cartels reproduce them.

Microsoft Study Finds Technology Hurting Attention Spans 109

Posted by samzenpus
from the it-does-what-now? dept.
jones_supa writes: Conducting both surveys and EEG scans, Microsoft has published a study suggesting that the average attention span has fallen precipitously since the start of the century. While people could focus on a task for 12 seconds back in 2000, that figure dropped to 8 seconds in 2013 (about one second less than a goldfish). Reportedly, a lot of that reduction stems from a combination of smartphones and an avalanche of content. The study found also a sunny side: while presence of technology is hurting attention spans overall, it also appears to improve person's abilities to both multitask and concentrate in short bursts.

Planetary Society Wants To Launch a Crowd-Funded Solar Sail 49

Posted by timothy
from the unfurling dept.
jan_jes writes to note that The Planetary Society is attempting to crowdfund its own version of the light-powered space-craft popularized by Carl Sagan as a "solar sailer." (YouTube video, with the Society's CEO Bill Nye.) The current model is a CubeSat no bigger than a breadbox with four sails. If the team manages to raise enough money, LightSail will be sent to orbit aboard a SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket in 2016. LightSail will be released into an orbit with an altitude of 720 kilometers (450 miles), high enough to escape most of the planet's atmospheric drag. Their crowdfunding goal has been far surpassed (more than $476,000 at this writing), but more can't hurt; maybe NASA could use some of the surplus.

Never appeal to a man's "better nature." He may not have one. Invoking his self-interest gives you more leverage. -- Lazarus Long